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Scripture and the Global South Church

Author: Daniel Bianchi
Date: 21.06.2010
Category: Media Engagement, Partnership, Scripture Engagement

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Originally Posted in English

The Bible and the Global South Church

I would like to share some basic reflections regarding the engagement of the Southern and Eastern Church in the Bible Translation Movement. Please note that my considerations of the church of the South arise from the context of my being from Argentina, with experience of the work in Latin America and with some years of service in international mission organizations. On the other hand, I realize that I am still “new” to the vision and to the work of Bible Translation (BT). I received the challenge for BT in 1999 through leaders from Wycliffe Bible Translators (and so I am very grateful to them, specially, to Dr. Dave Oltrogge for the part he played). Even my experience is limited; I would like to share some considerations.

1. The perception of the church in the North The church in the North looks at the church in the South with “northern” eyes. This means, among other things, that  the church in South and East are to be seen not as they “should” be, neither as the North expect (or want) them to be. The long standing dominance of the North has to give way  to the reality of the church in the South and East not only as something “emergent” but as a  present reality. The North needs to see that the church in the S&E have the right and the (God-given) obligation to participate as equal partners in Bible Translation. This shift has enormous implications for the church in the North and will require gentle humility, open communication, a servant attitude and an unflagging disposition to face change. This will take effort and time, and will demand committed leadership to see it carried through.

2. The perception of the church of the South The church in the South tends to look at herself through the eyes of the North. For centuries, the message to the churches in S&E has been something like “You can’t do it. You are too young. You don’t have the resources. You need help”. When you convince someone that he needs help you also convince him that he can’t help others, somebody said. The church in the S&E needs to regard herself as valuable, capable and responsible as the rest of the church. The church in the S&E ought to realize that she has much to offer. For many the lack of financial resources, expertise and technology causes her to feel like a “second class partner”. The church of the N&S has much to give in personnel, commitment, passion, suffering, etc.

3. The engagement of the church in the South  For many years, and in most of the countries of Latin America, there have been Bible translation projects and ministries committed to Bible Translation (i.e. UBS, SIL). However, those organizations have not sufficiently informed, nor intentionally engaged, the national churches in Bible Translation--though I know that it can be argued that this was not part of their ends. However, that vision was shared to some extent--inside the national borders--little attention was given to the need of involving those churches among Bibleless peoples beyond their own borders. We can think of many examples of  this: the churches in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina, to mention a few countries,  had not been engaged, in spite of the fact of the long standing presence of some organizations. Somehow the church at large was passed over and came into the picture only at the moment of the dedication of the New Testament. This un-attachment of the church, its lack of ownership, remains a challenge and an opportunity before us.

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Keywords: Scripture, the Global South Church, Partnership

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Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down hcksteve (0)

Daniel muy buenas tus notas, mira me gustaria llamarte, yo estoy en Buenos Aires y se que estas en Santa Teresita, mira me podes llamar o mandar tu telefono asi te llamo. Soy coreano, estudie en USA y ahora estoy en Argentina.

 Te paso mi Email HCKSTEVE@GMAIL.COM

Pasame tu telefono, asi te llamo.

Blessing Esteban Kim

Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Harriet_Hill (0)  
United States


We need the south and east in the Bible translation effort because your cultures are often so much closer to Biblical cultures than those in the West.  We are blinded by our enlightenment thinking and this affects the way we translate Scripture. You have valuable gifts to offer that are very needed. 

Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Daniel_Bianchi (1)  
@ Harriet_Hill:

Yes, Harriet, we need each other.

Every blessing!


Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Daniel_Bianchi (1)  

Thank you, Valerie!

Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down v_lim (13)  

Daniel, thanks for these thoughts on Partnership: “The Spanish Reina Valera Bible renders “communion” . . in Philippians 1.5. . same word is translated “partnership” in many English versions. The word conveys the meaning of cooperation, fellowship, partakers, constant companionship, and perseverance in friendship (Act.2.42).  . . Partnership rightly understood is far more than sharing economic resources . .  The church in the North needs to rethink partnership not only, or mainly, along financial lines but as comprising much more . .”

On the church in the global south: “The southern church is not poor in human resources, commitment, willingness to face difficulties, innovation, trained people, and so on. Neither is she poor in economic resources. She has a lot to give: there are many untapped resources.  In many countries, northern missionaries did not instruct the churches in the Biblical teaching on giving. That lack of stewardship retarded the process of responsible participation of those churches. .  Thankfully, many of those churches are now taking their place, realizing that they have also been called to the privilege of supporting the work..”

The need for communion, communication (listen, serve, love): “. . Both North and South are called to serve in God’s mission. It would be interesting for some leaders from the North to write what it will take for the northern church to make room for the church in the South and vice versa. . .  ways in which the southern church can help and contribute to the mission engagement of the northern church and vice versa. Both sides need to listen better, serve more and love stronger.”  
May God help us. Amen.


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